Factors associated with the overuse or underuse of health care services among medical aid beneficiaries in Korea

J Community Health Nurs. 2011 Oct;28(4):190-203. doi: 10.1080/07370016.2011.614837.


Purpose: To compare and contrast demographic characteristics and health care service utilization between overusers and underusers of health care services and to identify factors associated with the overuse or underuse of health care services among the medical aid beneficiaries in Korea.

Methods: Secondary data analysis was performed using health care costs and medical aid case management progress data. Data on demographic characteristics, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and inappropriate health care service user category (overuse or underuse) were provided by the Medical-Aid Case Management Center of Korea, and heath care service reimbursement data were provided by the Korea National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC). Data on 22,697 beneficiaries were used for analysis, and logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine factors that are associated with overuse and underuse of health care services.

Results: The study results revealed that older individuals, women, unemployed individuals, type 1 medical aid beneficiaries, and those with higher education and disabilities were more likely to belong to the overuse group, but urban residents, compared to metropolitan residents, and those with higher HRQoL were more likely to belong to the underuse group (p < .05).

Conclusions: Understanding factors associated with the overuse or underuse of health care services may help to provide tailored case management services to improve the HRQoL of the beneficiaries and optimize their use of health care services.

Clinical relevance: Promoting appropriate use of health care services may enhance clients' quality of life and preserve resources for other essential services for medical aid beneficiaries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sex Factors